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NCAS plea to support nurses rejected

18th November 2011

A recommendation for the National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) to extend its scope to include nurses and midwives has been rejected by the Chief Nursing Officer.

It follows a 2010 study led by Michael Traynor, Professor of Nursing Policy at Middlesex University, which found nurse managers to be using their suspension powers inappropriately.

The research, commissioned by the NCAS, focused on performance concerns in nursing and midwifery.

National Audit Office data published in 2003 showed 562 nurses were suspended for at least a month between 2001 and 2002, accounting for 53% of all NHS staff suspensions.

But only a small number of the suspended nurses were referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Despite this, the research found there is no requirement for managing staff to record nurse suspensions – a practice Professor Traynor said was astonishing.

The organisation CAUSE (Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspension and Exclusion UK) has criticised the NMC for failing to pick up on bad management while Unison called for better recording of nurse suspensions within practices.

Gail Adams, Head of Nursing at Unison, said: “Suspensions shouldn't be used as a punishment but it certainly feels like they are. Managers tend to overreact than try and manage it. They think speed is of the essence.”

The NCAS is a branch of the National Patient Safety Agency and was formed in 2001 to support employing and contracting organisations to help resolve concerns over the practice of doctors, dentists and pharmacists and last year started a review to decide whether its remit should extend to nurses.

 

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